In recent years, there has been incredible growth in the security video surveillance market with law enforcement agencies embracing video surveillance to enhance security in problematic areas across cities. But these projects require connectivity to carry video feeds from multiple deployed CCTV cameras distributed over one or more sites, to the control room for viewing and recording and analysis. Because of network congestion and interference issues, it is critical for transmission technology capabilities to improve.

In this article, three systems integrators discuss the challenges they face with network CCTV projects and how millimetre wave technology has helped them to provide the speed, capacity and connectivity needed for today’s data-heavy security system deployments. 

What are some of the challenges inherent in designing and installing video surveillance systems?

Marc Hancock, Technical Director of Net View Systems:

There is so much noise, as we like to call it, or traffic on traditional wireless networks (sub-6 GHz networks) that interference proves to be quite a common problem. Obviously, that is a significant issue when the wireless network is part of a city’s critical infrastructure, used for its CCTV security. CCTV security deployments require high reliability and availability in order for the CCTV system to prove truly effective but with traditional wireless networks, there is often not enough bandwidth or reliability to deliver the camera responsiveness required.

Craig Lerman, President and CEO of LTW:

Public safety networks employ mission critical voice, data and video solutions that cannot lock
up or go offline during a storm

Reliability is paramount when you are working in the public safety space, no matter what the current weather or ambient radio frequency environment is outside. It is critical that wireless network-based surveillance solutions are engineered properly for the environment in which they are operating. In addition, the wireless network components must be resilient, temperature hardened and be designed to operate in the target environment. Public safety networks employ mission critical voice, data and video solutions that cannot lock up or go offline during a storm. 

Nick Metcalfe, Technical Sales, TrellisWorks:

Five years ago, two megabytes per second (mbps) was enough bandwidth for each camera on a traditional wireless CCTV network. As camera technology has progressed, that number has gone up significantly. Today, each camera requires anywhere from 10 to 32 mbps of bandwidth, due to the high resolution of 1080p HD cameras and the addition of analytics and other tools. When designing an enterprise or town CCTV network, you can very quickly need 100 mbps. Getting that much bandwidth on a traditional 5 GHz wireless network is very difficult. 

How is millimetre wave technology affecting your surveillance projects and designs? What is it helping you do that you couldn’t achieve before? 

Marc Hancock, Technical Director of Net View Systems:

MmWave has provided huge cost savings, while delivering a better network and higher video resolution to the customer. We began using mmWave to address the interference experienced on traditional wireless networks, particularly with our city CCTV and traffic projects, and also with critical infrastructure customers, such as power companies. The mmWave backhaul links that we are using for security deployments are cost effective for us as a company and for our end users due to the power and speed of mmWave technology. We can install fewer links or hops as a result. For some projects, we also previously had to lease Internet Service Provider (ISP)-controlled fibre lines for customers to get the required reliability, capacity and speed. Because of mmWave’s fibre-like performance, we can use the radios to replace fibre lines, which provides cost reductions and allows us to directly design and control the entire network. 

Because of mmWave’s fibre-like performance, we can use the radios to replace fibre lines, which provides cost reductions
The attractive price with the high performance make MmWave a perfect fit for video surveillance wireless networks

Craig Lerman, President and CEO of LTW:

We have been using millimetre wave for a while now and have deployed many links in our larger city-wide deployments. We recently deployed millimetre wave radios in our project with the City of Bethlehem, Pa., for the Hoover-Mason Trestle, which is a recreational walking path 40 feet above the ground at an old steel mill that has been converted to an entertainment venue. Obviously, there was concern for visitor safety due to the height of the walkway and its use at night, so LTW installed millimetre wave radios for increased bandwidth and throughput for the site’s video surveillance system, addressing a lot of the same issues that we mentioned above: bandwidth loads, throughput speeds and reliability and durability in extreme weather conditions.

We have found that millimetre wave is really the most cost effective way to access high capacity throughput. The attractive price with the high performance make it a perfect fit for video surveillance wireless networks. Currently, you can buy millimetre wave radios with five GB/sec throughput, which will soon be 10 GB/sec throughput, which is as fast as fibre. 

Nick Metcalfe, Technical Sales, TrellisWorks:

As the density of deployment in the 5 GHz frequency band increased, we began using mmWave radio links because the mmWave frequency bands can provide much greater throughput for wireless CCTV systems and at a very affordable price. With mmWave, you never run out of bandwidth and you always have the ability to change an uplink or downlink as needed. Interference from other networks is a rare occurrence. In our designs, we often use a combination of mmWave radio links in conjunction with traditional 5 GHz links, depending on the nature of the project.

Now, we are seeing a trend in which many town councils are replacing leased fibre infrastructure with wireless networks that use mmWave radios for their CCTV systems. The speed and bandwidth are nearly the same as fibre, but the cost is significantly less.

Do you expect that adoption of mmWave technology will increase within the physical security industry? 

Marc Hancock, Technical Director of Net View Systems:

CCTV is being driven by the need for capacity and millimetre wave lends itself perfectly for that application, especially when priced competitively

Many of Net View’s security projects involve traffic light control systems and variable message signs near roadways as part of a city’s CCTV security network. Obviously one can’t trench fibre in all of those locations and even when it is possible, it is costly. Since its prices have decreased significantly in the last few years, mmWave technology has become the best choice when fibre is not an option. It is the underlying network design and topology that makes a security system effective and mmWave is allowing us to provide the powerful network needed for today’s bandwidth-heavy CCTV systems. 

Craig Lerman, President and CEO of LTW:

CCTV is being driven by the need for capacity and millimetre wave lends itself perfectly for that application, especially when priced competitively. Millimetre wave radios have the right form factor, capacity and scalability for the ever-evolving video surveillance systems of today. In addition, the millimetre wave frequency band enables high density deployments without the frequency re-use limitations imposed by lower frequency (sub 6 GHz) solutions.

Nick Metcalfe, Technical Sales, TrellisWorks:

As I mentioned, many cities are considering replacing fibre or traditional wireless networks with mmWave technology and in general, the need for higher capacity and more robust wireless CCTV networks is certainly increasing. Through rapid product development, Siklu enables integrators like TrellisWorks to meet our customers’ demands and requirements. In the future, I think we will see more interest from systems integrators in deploying mmWave links because of how effective mmWave is and because it is easy to install.

Ofcom is the U.K. regulatory body for communications and it requires systems integrators to register all wireless networks and links. Five years ago, there were a few hundred registered mmWave links. Today, there are thousands and that number is only going to continue to grow as technology advances and bandwidth demands increase.

Meet the Integrators:

LTW: Pine Brook, N.J., United States

Specialty: systems integration for wireless, network, security and energy solutions. Primary focus in public safety deployments, including law enforcement, municipal and state and local government.

Net View Systems: Bradford, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom

Specialty: designing and installing integrated electronic security systems and their infrastructure, including traditional analogue systems and High Definition and IP systems.

TrellisWorks, Ltd.: Thatcham, Berkshire, United Kingdom

Specialty: designing and installing comprehensive network wireless solutions, radio and 4G communications, IT support maintenance, mobile data routing and simulation.

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Eran Sagi Head of Marketing & Product Management, Siklu Communication Ltd

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